In early June an amendment to H.R. 1960 was proposed by Rep. Andrews (NJ) that would require the military to “provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.”
Unfortunately, this amendment failed due to objections raised by allies of the religious right in Congress.
The amendment was given another shot last week when it was reintroduced by Representative Jared Polis, who was one of the co-sponsors of the Darwin Day resolution that the AHA worked to get introduced in Congress earlier this year. While this amendment did not end up being included in the final House version of the NDAA, the fact that over 150 Representatives voted in favor of it is a testament to the increasing amount of support non-religious Americans are receiving from their elected representatives.
Humanist chaplains are needed by non-religious service members because the information shared between a soldier and his or her chaplain can’t be used against the soldier like information shared between a soldier and a military psychiatrist. Non-religious soldiers also deserve to have someone of a similar worldview to talk to when enduring some of the most hostile and stressful conditions on the planet.
Thank you for standing up for the rights of those who serve to protect our country.